My brother Imthiaz Rafiq after months of hard work has finally brought out a wonderful app for iPhone. It is indeed a great achievement and I am really proud of him! Congratulations! Please read the extract from him on the development.
Flip Media Launches its first iPhone app
Wow…We did it. After months of hard work, our first iPhone application, Mumbaikar, is now available at the Apple app store. The application is an interactive map with everything and anything you need to know about Mumbai, from geotagged restaurant, blogs and store listings to events and neighborhood crime alerts.
This was my first experience working on mobile development. The entire three month development process was exciting and fun, but not without its challenges.
Learning a new Language
The first big hurdle was learning iPhone SDK. I’ve spent a long time in web framework development, so going back to Objective-C required a steep learning curve. It took longer than I expected to figure out how certain things work.
Renewed appreciation for User Experience, Design & IA
I’ll admit, it was a sometimes frustrating journey with all the back and forth. I would work for days on a prototype and at the end of the week present it to Dinesh who would say, “Imthi, it is amazing!” But after a few more days of using the app he would inevitably come back and say, “Buddy… Something is missing….” So then we would go back to the drawing board and start creating new wireframes.
Another big challenge was ensuring the iPhone app matched the website. We were simultaneously working on version 2 of mumbaikar.com. With the site’s structure changing often, I had to rewrite the REST API for iPhone to match it.
The Cycle of Development
We had to scrap the Mumbaikar app twice before making the final public version. The first version which I worked on for a month had the basics: directory, incidents and blog listing. I personally wasn’t very satisfied with this version mainly because I had not fully mastered SDK.
The second version of app had an additional section for locating directory with map. In this version all the listing data was downloaded completely to the app. The major drawback was working on GPRS, it took too long to download and the app was getting slower.
For the third and final version, we concentrated on speed, optimized download for slow mobile Internet connection, improved threads handling, and fast access to information. We added global search, listings by category, locating by map, user generated ratings, posting, comments and usage statistics. This time around I was really satisfied with where we had gotten.
The Final Stretch
In the final stage of development, we tested the application internally with Flip iPhone users. Once we had worked out all the kinks, the application was submitted to the Apple Store for approval. After ten days of waiting on pins and needles, it was a great feeling to see the Mumbaikar application in iTunes. Thanks to Dinesh and Navisite team for their patience and constant support throughout the development process.
It’s always a work in progress though and we are looking at ways to make it even better. If you have an iPhone or Ipod touch, please install the application on and give us your feedback.
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